The Multiplicity Effect: Cloning Your Company to Close Talent Gaps

April 13, 2017 Mike Lewis

If you have been following my blog series on the changing dynamics in the workforce, you know that I am big movie buff and often draw parallels between a movie storyline and the opportunities I see for both companies and retirees in today’s gig economy. Recently, I came across Multiplicity: Michael Keaton clones himself so that he can meet the demands of his job and spend more quality time with his family. As I thought about it, I realized there is a whole genre of movies built on the notion that a clone or doppelganger allows a hero to accomplish more, do something new, or change their world.  Then it dawned on me…this plot applies to business as well. 

What if a company could clone itself by creating a virtual organization that mirrors its culture and experience, plus gives it the flexibility to readily add the skills or expertise it may be lacking? Think of the agility and capacity that could create! The good news is…this is not a science fiction or fantasy film story. It can be done today.

I’ve written before about the talent gap being created as record numbers of Baby Boomers retire, and the need to think differently about how we approach both talent and work. Today’s “retirees” expect to live longer and do more in this phase of their life than prior generations. For employers, this creates an opportunity to re-engage with their alumni and create a ready-bench of experienced professionals they can draw on when needed. For retirees, this creates opportunities to continue doing the work they enjoy, on their own terms. But the opportunity is bigger than just one-off “gigs” for individuals. Access to talent communities with deep experience that spans their own and other industries allows companies to create virtual teams that can seize opportunities for both short and long term growth.

The value of a mirror image. In the movies, a twin allows you to go to new places or become someone different. You can switch parents or go from a pauper to a prince. Often, clones are created to off-load the work the hero doesn’t want to do. Sounds a lot like outsourcing, which has been around for a long time as a mechanism to take cost out and reduce focus on processes that are not mission-critical. However, today’s burgeoning talent gap has created pent-up demand for outsourcing more strategic work, but many companies are hesitant to do so because traditional outsource providers don’t look like them and often struggle to understand more complex work.

If you could assemble a virtual team of people and create a true “company twin,” accessible on an as-needed basis, would you pursue new opportunities outside of your traditional business models?  For several clients, we have done just that. By providing them with "clone employees" from other industries who have experience in therapies or products that did not exist within their organization, our clients were able to take risks using an experienced virtual workforce and test the viability of their ideas, without disrupting their day-to-day operations and taking on the burden of full-time overhead.

Would being able to clone your company change your outsourcing strategies?  Would it improve the level and quality of the work being outsourced? Allow you to outsource more?  Move faster? Having a virtual company that looks like you opens-up amazing possibilities…from getting more done to doing more with less. A virtual workforce lets you explore staffing models never before possible.  For example, we work with a start-up biotech firm that wants to keep their staff extremely small.  YourEncore provides a virtual team of experienced and knowledgeable resources that can help them get their drug approved, from executives to individuals executing on the day-to-day activities. The Client ramps up and down as their workload requires. They call on their clones as needed. The result is faster speed-to-market with lower overhead, without sacrificing the wisdom and experience required to successfully navigate the complexities of their industry.

This model also works with large clients who need pre-vetted clones in specific areas like drug and food safety, innovation, R&D, supply chain, and commercialization who are always ready to do the work.  It eliminates long searches and costly mistakes. The client knows their clone and knows they can do the work.

Not all clones are alike. As Michael Keaton discovered in Multiplicity, the nuances of personality, culture, and life experience dramatically affect the long-term viability of a clone and its usefulness.  While technology and algorithms can identify and match objective measures of skill, experience, tenure, etc., it cannot assess fit with company culture, personality, and style. The key is finding a virtual workforce that truly looks like you in all aspects, beyond just skills and experience, and then adding the requisite expertise you are missing within your organization. Partnering with a talent community resource, like YourEncore, that blends both technology and human interaction in the “cloning process” is essential for success.

Many of us wish we had a clone. We dream about how much more we could and would do. If I were cloned, one of me would still work because I am passionate about the opportunities in the gig economy, but one would become a concert pianist, one would become a chef, and one would watch movies all the time with my family. Yet I would still want the ability to assimilate all that experience back into the original me. The beauty is, companies today can have a mirror image clone and reap the rewards their twin creates. Need help getting started on  your company clone? Contact me, and let’s discuss how creating your virtual organization can help you achieve your business goals.

 About Mike Lewis: Mike is Chief Sales & Marketing Officer for YourEncore. He is passionate about connecting Life Science and Consumer Goods Clients with YourEncore Experts, bringing them the rich experience and technical know-how they need to address their business challenges via flexible resourcing and consulting engagements. He is an innovative sales and marketing leader who has successfully introduced new selling and marketing models that have transformed companies in the process. He is a thought leader in social selling and account based marketing and has leveraged both to grow company revenues and reputation.


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